In this video, analysts Austin Smith and Isaac Pino discuss the reasons to be bearish about General Electric (NYSE: GE).

Although Isaac is more bullish than bearish on this stock, he points out how the company's financial unit affected the entire company during the 2008 financial crisis and how management wasn't able to foresee the future to mitigate the damage.

In addition, GE faces high pension costs and an aging workforce, as many old, large industrial companies do. Other potential problems include the company's exposure to the defense industry -- not a promising prospect with so much fiscal uncertainty in the air -- and its tax liability with respect to high lobbying expenditures.

Given these challenges, Austin suggests investing in 3M (NYSE: MMM) instead, since it's similar to GE in many ways but isn't exposed to the same concerns. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.